Ardgour Community Council holds September meeting

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Ardgour Community Council held its regular monthly meeting for September at which a number of issues were on the agenda for discussion.

Community councillors in attendance were Samantha Thomson, chairperson; Michael Foxley, vice-chairperson; Louise White, treasurer; Claire Bennett-Levy, secretary; Kendra Turnbull; Louise White; Tricia Kennedy and Elizabeth
Carmichael. Others attending – Ewen Maclean, Ardgour Estate.

Members heard that a suggestion concerning road marking for the A861 at Drumsallie from chairperson Samantha Thompson had been well received by Highland Council. Vice-chairman Michael Foxley suggested meeting with senior road officials to progress. The Stronchreggan bridge was identified as the worst section which requires immediate attention.

Work by power company SSE at the Corran Narrows will require some overnight working but this will only be required for one night at a date to be confirmed, the meeting heard. Near neighbours will be made aware by SSE. A planning application is being prepared to retain a section of road/bellmouth as a footpath and will
be submitted in the next couple of weeks.

Police Update –  PC MacIvor provided an update via email, stating: ‘No news can be good news with no crimes of dishonesty or such like in the area.  With Covid-19, there is no active police campaigns at this time, however, I am very conscious of carrying out pro-active patrols and stops at Ardgour, particularly at the ferry point.’

Environmental issues from Annat Industrial Estate at Corpach – Councillor Thompson provided an update. Residents have met with the BSW mill manager and were given an updated list of the noise mitigation work. One acoustic wall is being installed ahead of schedule, the other has been delayed due to supply issues. It was positive that recent log line working from 6am – 2am was communicated in advance, but disruption to residents was significant. Boyd Brothers (Haulage) Ltd has lodged an appeal to ministers, objecting to the condition of the setting up of a liaison group ( a condition attached to recent planning consent for Sunday berthing) and the community council has submitted a response.

Urram update – Interviews have taken place to appoint a new development officer and a care coordinator. Appointments will be confirmed after meeting with other board members.

Ardgour Area Fund update: Elizabeth Carmichael provided an update. A meeting is planned with a development trust to move forward and plans are in place for setting up online membership (a paper form will also be available) before the November meeting. She encouraged everyone to become members and promote others to sign up. Michael Foxley added more details of reasons for the development trust and how it will improve things in the future.

EV Charging Point (EVCP) – Michael Foxley highlighted potential positions at Ardgour hall, hotel and ferry. Highland Council and HiTrans are putting in EVCP and ferry terminals are a priority area. Councillor Foxley has discussed with ferry crew a location adjacent to where the tender is moored. Councillors Foxley, Carmichael and Kendra Turnbull are to take this forward.

Corran Ferry update – No update since August meeting. Awaiting follow-up meeting with Kate Forbes and Graham Dey, possibly in October. Councillor Turnbull asked a question about counting taking place on ferry. Community council secretary Councillor Claire Bennett-Levy is to email Highland Council contacts to get more information.

New Belford Hospital project – Councillor Foxley provided an update on the community comments following the Belford staff presentations to stakeholders in June. A total of 54 questions were set and some have now been answered and were circulated by Councillor Bennett-Levy. Councillor Foxley explained positive responses included confirmation of two theatres and that the facility would include a place of safety. Members heard there were still concerns about lack of information regarding A&E facilities. Also highlighted were lack of information/answers regarding links with GPs, treatment of children and links for care home beds.

Bus tenders – Councillor Foxley took the chair. Frustrations were raised during discussions about lack of information included within the consultation; the proposed cuts to service and the general lack of bus service outwith school term times. Suggested minimum of retention and push for improvement. Councillors Foxley and Bennett-Levy are to pull facts together and submit a response.

Acharacle GME (Gaelic Medium Education) catchment – Councillor Thompson retook the chair. Councillor Tricia Kennedy provided background and stressed the importance of keeping children within the peninsula. Proposals will exclude Ardgour Primary School from transport to GME unit in Acharacle. Public meeting is due on September 29 which Councillor Kennedy will attend and submit a response.

Date of next meeting – Thursday, October 14, at 7.30pm via Zoom.